Mkhize seeks to mislead the nation of the disastrous effects of NHI Bill

Please find attached soundbite in English and in IsiXhosa, by Siviwe Gwarube MP, the DA Shadow Minister of Health.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize’s statement seeking to downplay the disastrous effects that the newly introduced NHI Bill. This Bill will have a catastrophic effect on our health services and the economy, however the Minister seeks to downplay this.

It is clear the Minister is playing politics with this Bill and the intention is not to solve the deep inequalities in the health system. We agree with the Minister that we need reform and that universal healthcare is the way to achieve this, but he is completely misguided if he believes that NHI will provide affordable, quality and sustainable universal healthcare for all.

Mkhize’s statement slams the DA for questioning the clear overreach of the Bill by stating that it has been scrutinized by his department. What he clearly misunderstands is the role that Parliament has in holding the executive to account. Parliament is not here to simply rubber stamp problematic and often disastrous pieces of legislation. That is why, DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane has called on the Speaker of Parliament to do its work and ascertain whether this Bill is not in contravention of Schedule 4 of the Constitution which gives both National and Provincial departments concurrent powers to administer healthcare.

The DA is not just obsessed with this constitutional question on spurious grounds. There are legitimate reasons why the Constitution and indeed the National Healthcare Act have divided responsibilities the way that has been done. Governments need to be accountable to the people we serve. A centralized and nationalised health system will lead to poor health outcomes, little accountability, and a sluggish system which is bound to the be final nail on the coffin of our healthcare in the country.

Clearly out of ideas, Mkhize accuses the DA of seeking to maintain the status quo and some how protecting the privileged through our opposition of this Bill. This is simply false. The DA unequivocally supports universal healthcare for all South Africans. That is why we have developed a workable alternative to NHI, Sizani, that will achieve universal healthcare without collapsing the economy and health services in the country. In fact under Sizani, we would be able to bridge the gap between those who have been excluded by the systematic failures of the ANC government for the past 25 years.

The Bill introduced to Parliament last week has these fundamental problems:

  1.  it seeks to establish another State Owned Enterprise that will be worth billions of rands placed in the hands of the politically connected. This Bill will give the Minister unvetted powers and in control of the entire health system.
  2. The Bill completely centralizes the provision of healthcare by placing the management of all central hospitals under the national department. This will lead to the nationalization of healthcare and is a clear erosion of provincial powers.
  3. The Bill seeks to fragment the health system. This will inevitably will bring normal functioning systems to a grinding halt, and take power and decision making further away from people, not closer to them.
  4. The financing model of this Bill will mean the imposition of a new tax on ordinary South Africans to fund this new SOE. Ordinary South Africans have been squeezed dry by government and cannot be subjected to yet another tax.
  5. This Bill removes the autonomy of South Africans to choose their own healthcare. It mandates the national department of health as the sole provider of healthcare in the country while all private healthcare providers will be contracted by the state. This will, no doubt, lead to massive brain drain and erosion of talent in our health system. Doctors and health professionals will seek opportunity beyond our borders.

If the Minister is serious about debating the introduction the DA is more than happy to meet with the Minister to debate and share ideas to fix our ailing health system. For us, it is not about scoring cheap political points, but the health of millions of South Africans are on the line.

DA calls for action over escalating crime in Missionvale due to lack of police resources

Please find attached a soundbite in English by Andrew Whitfield, MP, and a soundbite in Afrikaans by Georgina Faldtman

Murder has increased by 160% in the Algoa Park policing sector, yet the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the area is still cripplingly understaffed and under-resourced. This is according to the latest available crime statistics.

Today I was joined by DA Federal Chairperson, Athol Trollip, DA Women’s Network Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson, Georgina Faldtman, and local residents in taking part in a crime march in Missionvale. (pictures attached here, here and here). We also handed over a petition and memorandum to the Station Commander of the Algoa Park Police Station. (memorandum attached).

   

The community of Missionvale often bears the brunt of the escalating murder rate due to a shortage of vehicles and officials and therefore a lack of visible policing in this area.

It is imperative that the SAPS make use of reservists to free up the frontline officers at the Algoa Park Police Station. This will make more officers available to ensure greater visible policing. This lack of visible policing also has an impact on the alarming increase in sexual offences in the area.

When comparing the 2016/17 crime statistics to the 2017/18 statistics sexual offences increased by 12,1% – from 58 to 65 reported cases. It is important to note that sexual assault (55,6%) and contact sexual offences (33,3%) both increased substantially.

While sexual offences are on the rise in Algoa Park and Missionvale, statistics show that there are no rape kits available at the Algoa Park Police Station. This causes increased trauma to rape victims, as they have to be transported to stations where these kits are available.

There are only 1,457 adult rape kits and 2,642 child rape kits available in the Eastern Cape. There should be at least 20,000 of these in stock in the province at all times.

The Algoa Park Police Station shortages of officials and vehicles has led to slow response times to call-outs in Missionvale.

There has also been an increase in drug dens and drug related crimes in the area.

I will be taking the plight of the people of Algoa Park and Missionvale to Parliament, and request an intervention from the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele.

A lack of officers severely hinders SAPS’s crime¬fighting efforts, especially relating to stations such as Algoa Park which is mandated to cover huge areas such as Missionvale.

Communities like Missionvale and Algoa Park, deserve an honest and professional police service which is well-trained, well-funded, well-resourced and fully capacitated – run by a capable provincial government, as per DA policy.

DA to table “economic recovery plan” in Parliament’s upcoming debate on SA’s unemployment crisis

The DA welcomes the decision by the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Thandi Modise, to grant my request for an urgent debate of public importance on South Africa’s jobs crisis. The DA will use Parliament’s debate of national importance on the jobs crisis to table our “Economic Recovery Plan” – a comprehensive package of reform interventions that are unashamedly pro-growth, pro-investment, and pro-job creation.

This “Economic Recovery Plan” will include the following proposals, among others:

  • Splitting Eskom into two separate entities while allowing IPPs to come on board by passing the ISMO Bill;
  • Rejecting the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill that threatens to collapse our health sector;
  • Immediately placing SAA under business rescue;
  • Beginning the rollout of a Voluntary Civil Service Year for young people;
  • Cutting the Public Sector Wage Bill; and
  • Creating an enabling environment for job creation by freeing up micro enterprise and relaxing labour legislation.

Our country’s economy is in a dire state and on the verge of passing the point of no return – which we may never fully recover from. Urgency is now more vital than ever, and I implore Parliament’s programming committee to set a date for this debate at the soonest available opportunity.

The ANC government has made history again – albeit for the wrong reasons – as the number of South Africans without a job has now crossed the dreaded 10 million threshold, with an expanded unemployment rate of 38.5%. Despite longwinded promises of reform from Mr Ramaphosa, we have seen no noticeable improvement in the economy, the unemployment rate, and the living conditions of ordinary South Africans.

Instead, since Mr Ramaphosa assumed the Presidency, 746 000 more South Africans have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Ramaphosa appears to either have no plan to fix this crisis, or no power to do so within his own party. We cannot continue along this path any longer, we need urgent and wholescale reform.

In the two weeks since the StatsSA confirmed that 10.2 million South Africans are now without a job, neither the President nor the ANC government has taken action and put forward a concrete plan. Two weeks ago I therefore also wrote to the President to establish an economic crisis recovery plan with relevant government stakeholders and political parties to reform the economy, Eskom and stem the jobs losses. I am yet to hear back from the President.

Parliament must now rise to the occasion and play its part during this leadership vacuum. The debate will need to address unsustainable levels of government spending; how to stop runaway bailouts to mismanaged SOEs such as Eskom; the size and growth of the Public Sector wage bill; and how to stimulate both local and foreign investment. Investors have lost all confidence in this government and are selling South African assets at an unprecedented rate. If we fail to stop this trend we will soon be staring down the barrel of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.

South Africa is fast running out of time. In order to avoid economic collapse, we need a clear, concrete plan for urgent reform. The DA will table such a plan during this debate, and will work hard to gain support for this plan across party lines.

Only the DA can manage the real problems South Africa faces. The DA’s governance track record speaks for itself. Where we govern, we govern well, get stuff done and have a solid agenda with workable solutions. Our approach to the economy is no different.

DA seeks urgent legal opinion on Constitutionality of crippling NHI Bill

Introduction

Last week, the world learnt that former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, has spent the past four months in Singapore receiving continuous medical treatment. His successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, revealed this was not Mugabe’s “regular” routine medical check-up in Singapore, but that Mugabe had been in Singapore for this extended period in order to receive medical treatment for an “undisclosed ailment”.

The man who ran Zimbabwe for close on 40 years does not receive medical treatment in his home nation. Instead, he seeks out quality medical treatment beyond Zimbabwean borders – an indictment on the country’s healthcare system and the quality thereof.

This act of “medical tourism” is not a Zimbabwean anomaly. Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos regularly travels to Spain for treatment; Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari receives medical treatment in England; and Patrice Talon, the President of the Republic of Benin, recently underwent surgery in France.

Even our own Deputy President, David Mabuza, has received medical treatment in Russia. There is a clear pattern here.

Many liberation movements in government tasked with providing free, quality healthcare for all citizens have fallen short, and there exists little incentive to improve the quality of healthcare. At the drop of a hat – and using taxpayers’ money – politicians are jetted off to foreign countries to receive quality healthcare which their fellow countryman can only dream of.

It is within this context of elitism and vast inequality that we ought to consider the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which was tabled in Parliament just five days ago by Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize.

Globally, countries are moving towards the provision of universal healthcare. It is without doubt that South Africa needs to follow suit. There still exists “two South Africa’s”, one with access to quality private healthcare, and one with access to substandard, public healthcare. This needs to be rectified through progressive legislation that will not break both the health system and the economy.

The Constitution provides basic free healthcare for all those within South Africa who do not have any form of medical aid/medical insurance. Any person, regardless of citizenship, is entitled to free basic healthcare. At present, this costs approximately R222 billion per year, servicing over 80% of SA’s population. South Africa – like many other countries across the globe – provides free access to basic healthcare for all its citizens.  However, it is the quality of the healthcare received by the majority of South Africans that is of pressing concern.

This reality has ushered in a fresh discussion on healthcare in the form of the NHI – one which seeks to hand government unfettered power in order for them to be the sole health provider in the country.

At its very core, the NHI Bill seeks to fundamentally alter healthcare policy in South Africa by creating a State-Owned Entity (SOE) to consolidate all funds within the public and private health system. This is the nationalisation of all healthcare in SA. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize himself admitted that medical aids will most likely cease to exist under NHI.

It is our view that in its current form, the NHI Bill will not bring about universal healthcare but will consolidate power, cripple the private health sector and collapse our economy. At a conservative estimated cost of over R250 billion, the NHI is to the health sector what Zuma’s nuclear deal would have been to the energy sector.

The ANC seems to think that in order to fix state hospitals, private sector healthcare needs to be destroyed. Instead of focusing attention on fixing the current condition of our public healthcare system, the ANC government has introduced a scapegoating piece of legislation in the form of the NHI.

And it is not just limited to healthcare. There has been an intensified assault on our Constitution, and on individual rights, choice and freedom by the current government in an attempt to cover up its own endless list of failings. From property and land rights to the independence of the Reserve Bank, these are the last kicks of a dying horse that is hellbent on outsourcing responsibility for its own failures.

It is our view that the role of national government ought to be this: radically improve public healthcare – which is free at the point of entry – while strengthening private healthcare by increasing competition within the sector. Ultimately, the public health system needs to be at the same level of standard as the private healthcare system currently is. South Africans cannot afford a situation where it is simply a race to the bottom and their lives do not materially improve.

However, the NHI Bill will not achieve any of this.

Urgent Legal Opinion

After careful consideration of the Bill, we are not satisfied that it will pass constitutional muster and will therefore be requesting Parliament to seek a comprehensive legal opinion as to the constitutionality of the Bill in its current form – particularly in terms of Schedule 4 of the Constitution.

I have today written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Thandi Modise, urgently requesting that on behalf of Parliament she instructs the Parliamentary Legal Services to obtain a legal opinion on the Bill well before it appears before the Health Committee and eventually the House.

Schedule 4, Part A of the Constitution sets out the functional areas of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence. That is, areas where decision making is split between national and provincial spheres of government.

“Health services” is an entry under this part, which means that both national and provincial legislatures share the competency to make legislation in respect of matters relating to health care. The key word here is “concurrent”.

It appears that the NHI Bill proposes a system that provinces will not be able to opt out of. “Health services”, as defined, will be bought and determined at national level, with the Minister of Health effectively becoming the single authority over the health sector in the country.

On face value, it appears that the Bill actively seeks to curtail this constitutionally granted shared power between national and provincial spheres of government, and we believe that the Bill and the system that it proposes is overly intrusive on the constitutionally enshrined rights of provincial legislatures to also legislate on matters relating to healthcare.

It is this possible constitutional breach which Parliament must probe and must begin by obtaining a legal opinion. If we fail to do so, the Bill may spend years in the courts – sapping public funds while South Africans remain trapped without quality healthcare.

Analysing the NHI Bill

The DA has done a comprehensive analysis of the NHI Bill and highlighted the aspects of the Bill which are catastrophic, not just for the health system but for the economy at large.

Should this Bill be passed in its current form, all South Africans will be the main causalities of this system. There are deep inequalities in the system. 84% of South Africans are dependent on an ailing health system with only 16% of our people who can afford private medical care.

The broader inequalities of insiders and outsiders in this country play themselves out painfully within the health system. In line with global trends, South Africa must move towards Universal Healthcare – however not in the form of NHI.

The greatest tragedy of this Bill is that it will not in any way achieve universal healthcare for South Africa. Instead, it is bound to destroy the health system as we know it by fragmenting it, eroding provincial powers, centralizing and nationalizing healthcare, and establishing a multi-billion rand SOE that will be in the hands of the politically connected few.

The DA is opposed to the following aspects of the draft Bill:

  1. The establishment of The National Health Insurance Fund as a public entity or State-Owned- Enterprise – the Bill explicitly states that the fund will operate as a public entity which will be constituted by the pooling of funds both from the public and private sector. The Minister has sole discretionary powers over this fund. In addition, the board which is appointed by the Minister, will be tasked with overseeing this fund, leaving very little room for adequate checks and balances. In addition, the Bill makes provision for investigative powers in cases of corruption and maladministration within the National NHI Fund Office , and not through any independent body. This fund will serve as just another SOE vulnerable to grand corruption at the expense of the nation’s entire health system.
  2. The nationalization of healthcare and clear erosion of provincial powers – the Bill completely centralizes the provision of healthcare by placing the management of all central hospitals under the national department. This is, in our view, is the undermining of provincial powers as enshrined in the National Healthcare Act of 2003. In practice, the equitable share of funds to provincial departments will directly finance the fund, meaning poorer health outcomes for ordinary South Africans. Provincial departments are already stretched in terms of the healthcare services they are required to rollout, and a reduction in their equitable share will be disastrous for the actual delivery of healthcare. Provinces are at the coalface of the delivery of health services and must be given more funds to improve public health care, not less.
  3. Fragmentation of the health system Currently, the health system is premised on an all-encompassing referral system, from community health workers who form part of the primary health system right through to tertiary hospitals. The Bill seeks to change this by having tertiary hospitals under the management of the national department. This will lead to a complete breakdown in the system, and ordinary South Africans will not be able to hold provincial departments to account for poor outcomes. In addition, the referral system that is prescribed by the Bill, will slow down the provision of emergency care. According to the legislation patients would need to follow a cumbersome and bureaucratic referral path before being seen by a specialist. This will curtail the powers of all medical healthcare professionals who can easily identify emergency cases that need urgent attention. Fragmenting the health system will bring normal functioning systems to a grinding halt, and take power and decision making further away from people, not closer to them.
  4. The additional tax burden that will be imposed on South Africans – The financing model of this Bill will mean the removal of the tax credit benefit afforded to medical aid clients while imposing a new tax on ordinary South Africans to fund this new SOE. Ordinary South Africans have been squeezed dry by government and cannot be subjected to yet another tax.
  5. The complete removal of choice for South Africans – this Bill removes the autonomy of South Africans to choose their own healthcare. It mandates the national department of health as the sole provider of healthcare in the country while all private healthcare providers will be contracted by the state. This means that there is absolutely no choice for people on which services to purchase, nor will there ever be competition to drive up the quality of healthcare. Medical aids will cease to be useful as the model makes the state the only provider of healthcare in the country. Considering that the ANC government will be the sole medical service provider in the country, medical aid companies will also have to contend with payment from the state. Currently, the ANC government is battling with upholding the 30-day rule of paying service providers and this problem will only be compounded. This was clearly demonstrated at each and every NHI Pilot Project where payments were never made on time and private GPs simply pulled out of the system. This will, no doubt, lead to massive brain drain and erosion of talent in our health system. Doctors and health professionals will seek opportunity beyond our borders.

The DA’s Sizani Universal Healthcare Plan

In contrast to the NHI, the DA’s Sizani Universal Healthcare Plan will ensure all South Africans are provided with quality healthcare, without crippling the economy.

The DA plan would ensure the following:

  1. It will be funded through the current budget envelop which includes the tax benefit currently afforded to medical aid clients;
  2. It would strengthen the role of primary healthcare in many communities;
  3. It would invest heavily in the provision of maternal and child health services, and the training and provision of healthcare professionals;
  4. It would reinforce the powers of provinces by ensuring they are adequately funded and equipped to provide quality healthcare to all;
  5. Through these interventions, all South Africans would have access to a quality health system that provides them with a standard package of care across all facilities;
  6. Medical aid companies would be used as a top up measure for those South Africans who choose to use them and who can afford to do so;
  7. Ultimately this system would increase competition, drive up quality, and afford every South African the choice of which medical provider they wish to use.

The DA team on health will spend the next 100 days driving support for the DA’s alternative plan. We will demand that Parliament rolls out an extensive public participation process in the form of public hearings and submissions across all 9 provinces.

Ultimately, this Bill has far reaching consequences for each and every South African. It is key that public and civil society input is taken on board. It is telling that the majority of inputs made in the last version of the Bill have not been taken on board and there are very few changes which have been made to the current Bill as a result.

We cannot allow Parliament to be a rubber-stamp station for problematic pieces of legislation. We will also be engaging with various civil society organisations, health interest groups and health providers to implore them to make inputs to this Bill in order for there to be material changes.

Western Cape Successes in Healthcare

Despite the widespread failures of SA’s current public healthcare system under ANC rule, the DA-run Western Cape has increased the quality and the accessibility of quality healthcare across the province. This has been achieved by combining innovative healthcare solutions with clean, corrupt free governance which ensures every cent is spent on services.

Today the average life expectancy in the Western Cape is the highest in the country. Since 2009, life expectancy in women has increased from 64 to 72 years of age, with an increase from 59 to 66 years of age in men.

In terms of access to healthcare, at 91.5%, the Western Cape has the highest percentage of households living with 30 minutes of the nearest health facility.  The province has introduced its own rural pick-up service, which transports over 150 000 patients to their nearest healthcare facility each year.

Since 2009, the DA-run Western Cape has spent R6 billion on health services, including capital unfractured and maintenance. This includes new multi-million-rand district hospitals in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, as well as:

  • 10 emergency centres upgraded or replaced;
  • 14 new primary healthcare facilities completed; and
  • 11 new ambulance stations built.

The introduction of the innovative School Wellness Mobile Service in 2014 has seen over 400 000 learners across the province benefit from treatment following over 3000 school visits.

The Western Cape is the only province in the country to have digitised patient records in public healthcare. The eVision for healthcare now has over 13 million patient records, accessible from over 300 healthcare facilities in the province.

In addition to this, DA-led cities such as Johannesburg have broadened access to healthcare by introducing mobile clinics in areas of dire need, as well as extending operating hours of clinics.

Conclusion

The inequalities of the current health system can be rectified but this would require commitment to growing the economy, partnership with the private sector, strengthening the powers and functions of provincial departments and rolling out Universal Health Care within the current budget envelope. South Africa cannot afford NHI.

NHI will not be able to improve the lives of our people. The DA is prepared to fight this Bill all the way to the Constitutional Court should the need arise.

Chronic lack of SAPS officers hinders visible policing in Westbury and surrounding communities 

Please find attached an English soundbite by Andrew Whitfield and an Afrikaans soundbite by Jacques Julius. Photo’s can be downloaded here, here and here.

Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at the Sophiatown Police Station. The inspection follows the DA-led city of Johannesburg deploying 60 Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JPMD) officers last year, to root out drug dealers and end gang violence in the area.

Westbury has in recent years become a hotspot for gang activities and violence, and safety in the community has been hamstrung by a severely under-staffed and under-capacitated police service.

The DA met with the station management who revealed that although the additional JPMD personnel has aided in restoring calm to the community, the station is still short of at least 30 officers to increase visible policing. Currently, the Sophiatown SAPS only has approximately 240 personnel available, when they are in urgent need of 270.

While the DA is pleased that the deployment of JPMD officers provided some relief, policing is ultimately a national competency and the onus rests on Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to increase personnel deployment to this SAPS station immediately.

A lack of officers severely hinders the SAPS’ crime¬fighting efforts, especially relating to stations such as the Sophiatown SAPS which is mandated to cover Westbury and Westdene, over and above their mandate for Sophiatown. Chronic lack of manpower hinders visible policing, which is essential in the prevention of crime, especially in gang-ridden communities.

Given the growing safety needs of South African communities, one can assess the severity of our lack in policing manpower with data from the United Nations, which recommends a police to population ratio of 1:220. Currently the average officer to citizen ratio in South Africa is 1:383. This makes policing efforts particularly difficult for our officers.

Communities like Westbury, deserve an honest and professional police service which is well-trained, well-funded, well-resourced and fully capacitated – run by a capable provincial government, as per DA policy.

South Africa needs a police service which is able to fight crime through dedicated and committed personnel. To have an under-staffed police force in an area threatened by regular occurrences of gang violence not only endangers citizens, but the brave women and men in blue who risk their lives for the safety and order of community.

High Court ruling reaffirms questions about Mkhwebane’s fitness for office

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the Pretoria High Court granting President Cyril Ramaphosa an interim interdict to have the implementation of the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s remedial action against him suspended, pending a judicial review of the Bosasa report.

While the DA believes that the President has a case to answer for and that he must be held to account – we respect the Court’s ruling and will abide by this decision.

Our obligation is to the public and the Constitution. The rule of law is sacrosanct, and if the President believes he has done nothing wrong, then he is well within his rights to take this matter on review and to obtain an interdict.

Today’s ruling does, however, raise questions about Mkhwebane’s fitness for office and is a further blow to her credibility.

It cannot be that the Public Protector staggers from one defeat to the next on an almost weekly basis. The High Court decision reaffirms the DA’s position that Mkhwebane needs to be removed.

While we respect the authority of the Office of the Public Protector and the Constitutional role it serves, we have serious concerns over the competence and independence of the incumbent.

In her almost three years in office, she has on numerous occasions showed the public that she is wholly unsuitable for office.

The DA reiterates its call that Parliament expedite removal proceedings in Mkhwebane. The longer she remains in office, the more she will erode the nation’s faith in this very crucial Chapter 9 institution.

DA wishes Muslim community a blessed and happy Eid al-Adha

The Demoratic Alliance (DA) would like to wish all people of the Muslim faith a happy and safe Eid al-Adha. We hope that this holy day will be joyous and filled with blessings for our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Eid al-Adha, is also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”, and marks the end of Hajj for the millions of people who travel long distances to Mecca every year and pray in solidarity with the world for peace and prosperity

The holy day of Eid al-Adha is also a time when the Muslim community celebrates and reflects with family, friends and their communities.

To all our brothers and sisters who embarked on the holy Hajj pilgrimage – we trust that it was a spiritually fulfilling journey that will bring love and happiness in their lives.

The Muslim community has made significant contributions and sacrifices in our quest to bring about change for our nation. We are indeed better together as South Africans, united in our diversity.

Eid al-Adha Mubarak!

National rape kit crisis: 76% of SA police stations have no rape kits in stock for victims

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that 76% of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock. A further, 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock.

Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases cannot be collected, and, without evidence, the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminishes drastically. It is wholly unacceptable and a damning indictment on the South African Police Service (SAPS) that only a handful of police stations are equipped to successfully gather evidence from victims of rape.

The shortage of rape kits is a crisis of national importance, which needs to be resolved as a matter of great urgency.

These shocking statistics were revealed by the National Police Commissioner after a request for information submitted by the DA.

The DA will now write to Minister Cele and provide him with 90 days to ensure the rape kit crisis is resolved by ensuring that provincial needs are met.

This issue has to do with the lives and dignity of the women and children of our country. The current figures indicate that SAPS has run short of over 128 000 rape kits, with only around 18 000 adult rape kits in circulation in SA.

ITEM DESCRIPTION EC FS GP KZN LIM MP NW NC WC TOTAL
D1-Adult Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Amount Required 10 000 3 621 22 555 12 767 3 000 3 770 3 500 2 467 5 207 68 542
Currently In-Stock 1 457 340 3 965 5 368 1 494 2 867 883 784 1 083 18 241
D7-Paediatric Sexual Assault Evidence Collection
Kit
Amount Required 10 000 12 516 11 200 8 924 4 000 2 615 3 000 1 952 4 584 59 506
Currently In-Stock 2 642 340 3 965 6 696 5 805 5 317 1 383 432 729 25 464

If the Minister of Police does not heed to our call to resolve the rape kits crisis he must take full responsibility for the failure of the SAPS to investigate rape, arrest rapists and ensure successful prosecutions of those who commit this heinous crime.

The DA will continue to fight for the rights of our survivors by ensuring that our police services are equipped to put criminals behind bars where they belong.

DA Leader Maimane pays tribute to South African women on Women’s Day

On behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA) I would like to pay tribute to all the women in our nation and wish them a very special Women’s Day. We dare never forget as a country the contribution that women made to the struggle for freedom.

The DA also recognises that 25 years into democracy, women remain worst affected by poverty, violence and abuse. This is why the party’s Women’s Day celebrations throughout the country today will be dedicated to the fight against gender based violence and an improvement in policing to make sure that we abolish violent crimes against women.

Let us build economic models that ensure that more woman are able to participate in the work space. There must be an equal payment for the work that woman do as per their male counterparts.

Our society will face technological developments, climate change and will require a new way of managing healthcare. It’s critical that we make these transitions into the future so that our country becomes more inclusive with our young girls able to code, participate in the green economy and ultimately be benefactors of quality healthcare.

Let’s build a society where woman are safe, prosperous and leaders in our society.

Women’s Day: Women Shall Rise and Break Their Silence

The following speech was delivered by DAWN Leader, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, at the DA Women’s Day celebrations in Gelvandale, Port Elizabeth.

Makhosikaz’ amahle,

Women of strength and resilience,

Jy is die rots van die nasie, en die tyd om op te staan en ons stilte te verbreek, is nou!

Today, we need to take courage from the fearless women of 1956 who on this exact day, rose up and demanded equality and justice.

Their message is still clear to this day – You strike a woman, you strike a rock.

They took to the streets of Pretoria to demand a better life because they knew that for every woman to live a life of freedom, they had to break their silence and let their voices be heard.

Sadly, 63 years after their sacrifices, women today are still on their own. We continue to fight for the same equality and justice the likes of Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Frances Baard fought for back then.

As women, we are still the poorest of the poor in South Africa.

We remain at the top of the unemployment chain.

We continue to suffer as victims of horrendous acts of violence.

And worst of all, our human rights continue to be violated on daily basis.

When we wake up everyday to try and make a living for our families, society continues to drag us down and deny us of a quality of life while we are subjected to high degrees of transgressions and exploitation.

For those women who are already employed or are still seeking employment, they face the painful reality of being manipulated into giving sexual favours in return for keeping their jobs or getting a job.

Young women in schools are being forced to sleep with their teachers or lectures so that they can get better marks to pass or risk being failed should they refuse.

In Keiskammahoek, 5 teachers including the Principal were suspended for having sexual relations with school children in return for marks. One of these school kids fell pregnant as a result of this sexual abuse.

Not far from here in Komani eQueenstown, we have been talking to women who were forced to sleep with municipal officials in return for promises of getting RDP houses. As DAWN, we have taken this matter up with the Commission for Gender Equality because we believe that every woman deserves to be treated with dignity.

This is what women have been reduced to by those in power – sex objects.

These vile illegal acts continue to happen daily behind closed doors in government departments, in schools, universities, colleges and even in private companies, and the painful truth remains – women continue to suffer in silence, fearing for their lives and livelihoods. We are being turned into sexual objects and no one is protecting us.

What have we done to deserve such treatment? Where is the justice for women?

Just like the women of 1956, this government has failed the women of South Africa, and the Department of Women remains silent and useless when it comes to fighting for the protection of women.

We are now rising and breaking our silence.

We are taking our fight to the Commission for Gender Equality. We demand immediate action and justice.

If they too fail us, we will go to the South African Commission for Human Rights. They must protect us, our freedom and our rights.

Rest assured, asijiki until equality is realised and justice is ours.

We will continue marching forward because we have been failed many times. Genoeg is genoeg, violence of any kind against women must stop.

Wathint’ abafazi, whathint’ imbokodo.

Rise strong woman rise.

Break your silence and let your story be heard.

Thank you!